REALLY making a difference in education

Ten things that will really make a difference in education

Let’s get our priorities straight. Here are ten things that the Gates Foundation, the Federal Government, and schools and districts might support, whether through the states or directly to schools and districts, that really would help schools and school districts provide a rigorous 21st century education to their students:

1.   Collaborative, success oriented learning environments.

2.   The development and adoption of rich, rigorous, coherent, interesting and focused content based and interdisciplinary curricular and instructional programs, resources and materials, in all subjects and grade levels, that integrate and embed inquiry, literacy, communication, and thinking skills. All should be accompanied by relevant short and long-term professional development. 

3.   The adoption of the International Baccalaureate Program by any school or district that wants to move in that direction.

4.   At least one required, rigorous high school graduation project. 

5.   Locally adopted formative and summative assessment systems built around projects, performance tasks, the analysis of authentic student work, and portfolios. 

6.   A varied and rich selection of after school enrichment programs and competitions. 

7.   A greater choice of learning opportunities at all grade levels, but especially major elective programs and internship opportunities in the junior and senior years of high school.

8.   Alternative systems to tenure, such as five-year renewable contracts.

9.   Strong incentives for teachers to become Nationally Board Certified.

10.The adoption and use of technology, but only if the technology is tied to some key educational goals (such as those above) that technology will help to implement.